The titular home used in the 1990 family comedy Home Alone (and Home Alone 2) is up for sale for the first time since the shoot, at a list price of $2.4 million. As with many location sites associated with the movie’s writer, John Hughes, this red-brick Colonial Georgian is located in the Chicago area, in historic Winnetka on the North Shore.
Sellers John and Cynthia Abendshien retain very fond memories about the film's shooting, which took place over five and a half months. In fact this wasn’t the first time the couple was was asked to let a home of theirs start in a movie. The first proposal occurred a year and a half earlier in their previous, similar colonial home, for the John Hughes movie Uncle Buck (a scene from which provided the inspiration for Home Alone). The couple had to turn down that opportunity because they were moving to this house.
Posted May 5, 2011
The house sits on half an acre, is three stories and has 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, and 2 half baths. Realtor Marissa Hopkins says that although it just debuted on the market today, there has been a respectable amount of potential buyer interest, whereas usually there’s a day or two of lag. She says the house is a very well balanced example of its style, and the location is two blocks into town two to the lake, and it has, “A lot of wonderful surprises as well. There’s a handpainted English garden mural in the dining room. There are many tall trees and beautiful gardens in the area. It’s very peaceful.”
What initially drew the Abendshiens to this house? “I was really struck by its classical architectural lines,” says John. “The house haswonderful proportions and balance to it. We also love the natural light from the abundant windows, the layout of the space and the ability to have distinct parts of the house serve specific functions.”
“I loved the fact that I only had to walk a short distance down Lincoln Avenue to see the town center ahead of me,” says Cynthia. “The house’s location is perfect. I can walk to the post office, grocery store, train station, everything.”
Of course, the house’s walkability to shops was also ideal for the film’s fictional young protagonist, Kevin McAllister, played by Macaulay Culkin.
Movie viewers remember the home beneath a winter blanket of snow, but the weather didn’t always cooperate during the movie shoot. According to the film’s trivia page on IMDB.com, “The wax-and-plastic artificial snow used in this film was given to the Lyric Opera of Chicago when shooting finished. It has since been used in numerous opera productions.” Another source says the snow was simulated using potato flakes.
Although the home’s foyer looks quite stately and impressive in real life, in Home Alone it was the stage for a world of Kevin-inflicted burglar hurt, and it was also memorable as the site where he sledded down the stairs and out the front door, down the porch steps, and into the yard.
The kitchen has been updated with all the conveniences you’d expect in a modern kitchen since the filming of the scene where Kevin ordered pizza all for himself and deflected intruders using fireworks and voices from a tape of an old movie. When the movie was shot, the color scheme was a positively seasonal red and green.
The Abendshiens lived comfortably for most of the shoot in this four-room master suite. “Although they gave us an apartment, we ended up staying in it for just two nights. One of those nights occurred when real snow finally fell in our area," said John. "The film crew stayed well into the night, wanting to make sure they got it on film. They suggested that we might prefer to stay at the apartment, and we took them up on it."
"So we did stay in our home during almost all of the filming. We were quite comfortable camping out [in the master bedroom suite] while the cameras rolled. The house is quite large. It accommodated the large crew as well as the actors, and yet we didn’t feel like we were tripping over each other.”
The centerpiece of this elegant sitting room, which is part of the master suite, is a carved marble fireplace mantle. The master suite also includes a sun room and a master bath, the site of the movie’s most iconic scene, where Kevin disastrously applied aftershave.
The screened 22 x 18 foot porch, looking out over the back yard, is John’s favorite part of the house.
“We often interacted with Macauley when he was on his break,” he recalls. “Our daughter Lauren would play with him. She was two years younger than Mac. They would go outside and swing from a rope that we had hanging from one of our big trees in the backyard. His brother, Kieran, was also in the movie and he, too, spent some time with our daughter. He was very funny and fun.”
Jumping on this bed by children is only permitted when your parents have left you behind when they departed for Christmas vacation.
All fictional references aside, though, “the movie portrayed a very warm welcoming place where you’d want to raise a family and I think that’s how the home feels,” says Marissa. “The next owner will be able to make their own memories here.”